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Altar of Hieron and Plaza

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Altar of Hieron and Plaza
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Photo Comments

View of a corner of the Zeus Altar (lower left) and the large plaza in front of it.

This huge altar was constructed by Hieron II in the third century B.C.  643 feet long and 75 feet wide!  It is the largest known altar from antiquity.  Much of the altar was carved out of "living rock."  There was a superstructure but most of the stones have been carted off and reused in other buildings in Syracuse.  It had been covered with plaster.  Many think it was dedicated to Zeus Eleutherios (Zeus the Liberator) and that at its dedication 450 bulls were sacrificed!

Hieron II was the ruler of Syracuse from 270 to 215 B.C.